Thursday, July 31, 2014

2015 Hugo Eligible SFF

Have you read and loved any science fiction or fantasy that was originally published in 2014? After a short break I'll want to start consuming as much as I can, with a thought to next year's nominations for the Hugo Awards. Please share in the comments if you've found anything that you love! Stories of any length.

2014 Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form - My Ballot

And... DONE! That's it for my Hugo voting this year. The deadline is 11:59 pm Pacific time tonight, and there's no way I'll be able to get through the entirety of any of the other categories in time. I'm really sad that I wasn't able to get my hands on two of the 1939 novelette nominees - that's too many for me to feel right about voting in the category.

I'm pretty pleased with myself, though. I got through WAY more material than I did last year. 
Here's a round-up of my 2014 and 1939 Hugo ballot posts, with the order of my votes and some notes.

I'm going to take a short break. Read a couple of junk books, play a couple of video games. Then I'll start looking at some of the 2015-eligible things that have been coming out.


I have a lot of difficulty with this ballot, this year. Let's see, we have:

A disaster movie that takes itself seriously
A Disney princess movie
A comic book superhero movie
A YA dystopia second-in-a-trilogy-can't-stand-alone movie
A monster movie

I'm really not happy with my choices.

I was tempted to put "No Award" in the first spot, but I decided to be a better sport than that.

My ballot behind the link, with a few thoughts on each.

Review: Iron Man 3

2014 Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form Hugo nominee Iron Man 3screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black, directed by Shane Black (Marvel Studios; DMG Entertainment; Paramount Pictures).

A few spoilery thoughts behind the link:

Review: Pacific Rim

2014 Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form nominee: Pacific Rim, screenplay by Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., Disney Double Dare You)

A few spoilery thoughts behind the link.

1939 Best Novella - My Ballot

There are five nominees for the 1939 Retro-Hugo Award for Best Novella. 

None of them really screamed THIS! THIS IS THE WINNER! to me, but I did like a couple of them.

My ballot with some spoilery thoughts on each nominee behind the link:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Gravity

2014 Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) Nominee: Gravitywritten by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)

Some spoilery thoughts behind the link. Hint: I don't really like disaster films, especially ones that seem to take themselves seriously and get a lot of the science unnecessarily wrong.

2014 Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form - My Ballot

The Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form Hugo category is for dramatized productions in any medium. Short form means less than 90 minutes long. This year, it is again dominated by Doctor Who.

This little video clip perfectly sums up the reasoning behind my ranking of this year's nominees:

The lyrics are here if you're not able to watch YouTube where you are right now. Basically:

Intellect and romance triumph over brute force and cynicism!

In spite of the fact that Doctor Who has a habit of making me afraid of everyday objects (and this is just a small sampling): 

The triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism. This is what I want out of my sci-fi/fantasy. This is what I want to reward. This is what I want MORE speculative fiction to explore.

If you know of other sf television that explores this theme, especially if they do so as consistently and beautifully as Doctor Who, please tell me in the comments! 

Spoilery thoughts about this year's nominees and my ranking of the ballot are behind the link:

Friday, July 25, 2014

2014 John W. Campbell (not a Hugo) Award for Best New Writer - My Ballot

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which is not a Hugo Award but which we are permitted to vote on during the Hugo Award voting process and which is awarded at the same time as the Hugo Awards, is an award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2012 or 2013. 

I'm basing my ranking on the question: whose work am I most excited to delve farther into, and who would I like to read more of?

My ballot and a few spoilery comments behind the link.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Benjanun Sriduangkaew - Several Stories

John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo Award) for Best New Writer Nominee: Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

To check out this nominee, I read "The Bees Her Heart, the Hive Her Belly." And then I immediately picked up "Fade to Gold" and "Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade."

Some spoilery thoughts behind the link.

1939 Best Short Story - My Ballot

1939 Retro-Hugo Awards - Best Short Story

I definitely had a favorite in this group, as well. But several were fun to read.

Spoilery comments and my ballot behind the link...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

1939 Best Novel - My Ballot

Of the five nominees, there is a very clear front-runner for me. If I could vote it first, and put five or six blank spaces between it and the next ones, I would.

My ballot with a few possibly spoilery notes behind the link...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: Galactic Patrol by E. E. Smith

1939 Retro-Hugo Award Nominee Galactic Patrol by E. E. "Doc" Smith (Astounding Stories, February 1938).

Some spoilery thoughts behind the link.

2014 Best Fancast - My Ballot

I haven't spent any time with fancasts, so I'm glad for the opportunity to look up a few that are clearly highly recommended, if they're able to garner enough nominations for the Hugos!

I checked out all seven nominated podcasts, and along the way learned something about myself and what I enjoy in a podcast.  I tend to enjoy the podcasts that introduce me to new things in a manner that doesn't annoy me.

  • Too many people talking at once. 
  • Different sound volumes for each participant - this can go beyond annoying and make a podcast impossible for me to listen to. One person is too soft to hear, so I turn up the volume, then the next person IS SHOUTING!!! and it hurts my brain. From what I understand, it's not too hard to control for this.
  • Participants being ugly to each other.
I came out of this exercise with a few keepers! Color me happy!

Some spoilery comments behind the link:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

1939 Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form - My Ballot

Sorry for the long hiatus! I got stuck trying to read a nominee that was boring me, and kept wandering off to do other things. The July 31 deadline is fast approaching! Time to get serious!

Four of the five dramatic presentations (short form) nominated for the 1939 Retro-Hugo's are radio broadcasts starring, directed by, and sometimes also adapted by Orson Welles. All four can be heard, for free, here.

The fifth nominee, sadly, no longer exists.

My ballot and some spoilery thoughts behind the link.